Generally considered to be one of the most progressive countries in West Africa, Ghana has not only conducted six “successful” presidential elections over the past 21 years, it is also the home of former UN Secretary General and Nobel Prize winner Kofi Atta Annan, also chairman of the Africa Progress Panel.
Yet, along with its vast resources of cocoa, gold and oil, the country has become a haven for heroin and cocaine shipments so large that the US DEA stepped in to orchestrate a sting that led to the arrest of Solomon Adelawuaye head of a private security company at Kotoka International Airport in the capital Accra, in May.
According to US prosecutors Adelaquaye (allegedly) “conspired with two Nigerians and a Colombian to move 3,000 kilos of cocaine in 25-kilo installments onto international flights, including getting a laptop computer stuffed with a kilo of heroin through airport security in exchange for $10,000 from the DEA agents.
While drug trafficking is nothing new in West Africa, it possesses a much bigger threat to our and other countries’ national security than merely supplying addicts. According to the AFP, “traffickers have been accused of infiltrating the government and military of Guinea-Bissau, while Al-Qaeda groups based in Mali are suspected of using drug money to finance their operations.”
What makes Ghana particularly attractive for drug dealers is the fact that travelers can fly directly to New York, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Cairo and Dubai, added officials from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which added that more than 5,330 lbs if coke and 61,958 kilos of marijuana were seized in Ghana from 2003-2008. However, they also noted that only 25 kilograms of cocaine and 153 kilograms of marijuana, were confiscated by police in 2011.
In the meantime, Ghana’s government is seeking $25 million in contributions to help support its drug enforcement efforts including hiring advisors on how to fight trafficking, as well as obtaining sniffer dogs for the airport.
rts including hiring advisors on how to fight trafficking, as well as obtaining sniffer dogs for the airport.